Tinsel and lights have trickled back to the attic just in time for the breaking of the new year. Warm memories of the holiday season lingher, just like the unseasonably warm temperatures. But nevertheless, a new year is upon us. Along with a list of New Year's resolutions that may be quickly abandoned, give equal thought to goals and plans for an entire year of family fun and memory-making. Be deliberate with family activities each month of 2017. Plan for far-away hikes and local walks, new recipes and restaurants, game nights and dance parties, lots and lots of bedtime stories, creative crafts and new adventures with friends. Make 2017 an unforgettable year of family fun and festivities. Celebrate big moments and small moments and start off with some of the January holidays below.
New Year's Day - Choose a decorative glass container with a lid and supply paints and brushes for each family member. Let each person embellish and sign a spot on the vessel. While the paint dries, have each family member write down five or six ideas for family activities, like bowling or picnicking, on small strips of paper. Fold all the papers and place in the jar. Place the container in a prominent place so it won't be forgotten. Pull out suggestions throughout the year for family fun and make sure to get through all of the opportunities by the end of 2017. Squirrel Apprecia-tion Day - Take an early-morning walk to look for these rodents doing their thing to prepare for winter. See if you can spot one burying an acorn or two. Watch them scamper up the bark of a tree or run through the treetops like acrobats at a circus, leaping and landing from branch to branch with ease. If you have a birdfeeder, sit on the porch and watch the squirrels use those same skills to conquer the squirrel-proof feeder to steal birdseed. Snack on some kind of nuts in honor of the holiday, too.
Blender Anniversary - Celebrate the birth of this kitchen appliance with some smoothie concoctions. Take a poll of family members' favorite fruits and find recipes online to accommodate each taste. Work together to wash and slice fruits and measure out the remaining ingredients; blend and slurp on some smoothies together.
Clashing Clothes Day - Dress up in some oddly-matched clothing choices and gather in the family room to read books about a youngster who often made interesting clothing choices of her own. Read some of the Junie B. Jones children's books about the precocious youngster who had an interesting way of describing things, often with her own made-up words as creative as the outfits she put together. You'll giggle at her antics, and it might even bring up some family discussions about her take on life in general.
International Hot and Spicy Food Day -Make up a batch of this buffalo dip as an appetizer to celebrate and to spice up your day. Place these ingredients in a crock pot: two packages of cream cheese, two 12.5 ounce cans of chicken, two cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, one cup of ranch dressing and three-fourths cup of hot sauce. (This makes for a spicy dip - you may want to use less or more, according to your family's preferences.) Cook for several hours and stir once during the cooking to blend the ingredients and just before serving with chips or crackers.
Today marks the beginning of 365 days to spend quality family time with those you love. Make every day, every month, every minute count, for once the day ends, you're left with just the memories. Make them the most incredible family memories ever, and may God bless you in the coming year.
Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender is married to David Lavender and enjoys celebrating with children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel and Jessica. h